The authority of the Ahl al-Bayt in Hadith of Safinah

Topics
Sign in English Us
The authority of the Ahl al-Bayt in Hadith of Safinah
2392 0 share 0

In a well-known hadith narrated by both Shi‘a and Sunni Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad (s) has likened his household to the ship, or safinah, of Prophet Noah:

Be aware that surely the parable of my household among you is like the ship of Noah. Whoever embarked on the ship of Noah was saved, and however refused so was drowned.

This hadith directly refers to being spiritually guided and saved versus being drowned. According to the Qur’an, people have two lives: one is the physical life which we can examine through medical tests; the other is spiritual life i.e. the life of guidance and faith. The Prophets and their followers, such as the Imams and spiritual scholars, invite people to take care of their second life, not only the first one. 
According to the Qur’an, people have two lives: one is the physical life which we can examine through medical tests; the other is spiritual life i.e. the life of guidance and faith. The Prophets and their followers, such as the Imams and spiritual scholars, invite people to take care of their second life, not only the first one.

According to the Qur’an, people have two lives: one is the physical life which we can examine through medical tests; the other is spiritual life i.e. the life of guidance and faith. The Prophets and their followers, such as the Imams and spiritual scholars, invite people to take care of their second life, not only the first one.

The Qur’an says:

O you who have faith! Answer God and the Apostle when he summons you to that which will give you life… (8:24)1

We believe that faith is a life for us, and if we lose it, we die spiritually, though we may be physically alive, and this causes to be spiritually deaf, dumb, and blind, leaving our hearts numb:

Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not come back. 2

According to the hadith of safinah, whoever refuses to appeal to the Ahl al-Bayt is spiritually destroyed. It is hopeless to be alive while having no leader, no direction in life.
There is another hadith in some Sunni sources like Al-Sawa‘iq al- Muhriqah by Ibn Hajar, in which after the Prophet likened his household to the ship of Noah, he likened them to the gate of Hittah as well.3 This was the gate that the Israelites were asked by God to enter:

And when We said, ‘Enter this town, and eat thereof freely whencesoever you wish, and enter prostrating at the gate, and say, “Relieve [us of the burden of our sins],’’ that We may forgive your iniquities, and soon We will enhance the virtuous.’ 4

And when they were told, ‘Settle in this town and eat thereof whence you wish; and say, ‘‘Relieve [us of the burden of our sins],’’ and enter prostrating at the gate, that We may forgive your iniquities, and soon We shall enhance the virtuous.’ 5

Whoever entered the gate was forgiven and whoever refused to enter was punished. Similarly, those who follow the Ahl al-Bayt receive God’s mercy and forgiveness and those who arrogantly refuse to do so will be punished by God.

Whoever entered the gate [of Hittah] was forgiven and whoever refused to enter was punished. Similarly, those who follow the Ahl al-Bayt receive God’s mercy and forgiveness and those who arrogantly refuse to do so will be punished by God.

In yet another hadith the Prophet likens his household to stars. Stars are not just to lighten the sky or beautify it. The fixed stars are a source for guidance for those who travel in the oceans and deserts.
The Prophet likened the Ahl al-Bayt to these stars, since they are guides that save people from going astray or from conflict. The hadith goes on saying that if a group of Arabs disagree with the Ahl al-Bayt, they will suffer with disagreements that bring about disunity and result in being a part of the party of Satan. In this way, the Prophet disapproves those who disputed against the Ahl al- Bayt.

The Prophet likened the Ahl al-Bayt to these stars, since they are guides that save people from going astray or from conflict. The hadith goes on saying that if a group of Arabs disagree with the Ahl al-Bayt, they will suffer with disagreements that bring about disunity and result in being a part of the party of Satan. In this way, the Prophet disapproves those who disputed against the Ahl al- Bayt.

Thus, referring to the Ahl al-Bayt to understand Islam is not optional; it is a must. These hadiths, namely the hadith of Thaqalayn, the hadith of Safinah, the hadith of Hittah and the hadith of stars are some of the very well-known ones found in Sunni references. Similar narrations indicating the necessity of referring to the Ahl al-Bayt are found in Shi‘a collections of hadith.

1 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
(8:24)
2 صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ
(2:18)
3. For a Shi‘a source, one may refer to Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 23, p. 105, where ‘Allamah Majlisi cites the following hadith from the Bisharat al-Mustafa:
عن رافع مولى أبي ذر قال رأيت أبا ذر رحمه الله أخذ بحلقة باب الكعبة وهو يقول من عرفني فقد عرفني أنا جندب الغفاري ومن لم يعرفني فأنا أبو ذرالغفاري سمعت رسول الله ص يقول من قاتلني في الأولى وقاتل أهل بيتي في الثانية حشره الله في الثالثة مع الدجال إنما مثل أهل بيتي فيكم مثل سفينة نوح من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها غرق و مثل باب حطة من دخله نجا ومن لم يدخله هلك
4. وَإِذْ قُلْنَا ادْخُلُوا هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ رَغَدًا وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ نَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطَايَاكُمْ ۚ وَسَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
(2:58)
5. وَإِذْ قِيلَ لَهُمُ اسْكُنُوا هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ وَكُلُوا مِنْهَا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا نَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطِيئَاتِكُمْ ۚ سَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
(7:161)

 

COMMENTS
Leave a Reply

Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.